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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.


America to Iceland

By Bayard Taylor (1825–1878)

WE come, the children of thy Vinland,

The youngest of the world’s high peers,

O land of steel, and song, and saga,

To greet thy glorious thousand years!

Across that sea the son of Erik

Dared with his venturous dragon’s prow;

From shores where Thorfinn set thy banner,

Their latest children seek thee now.

Hail, mother-land of skalds and heroes,

By love of freedom hither hurled,

Fire in their hearts as in thy mountains,

And strength like thine to shake the world!

When war and ravage wrecked the nations,

The bird of song made thee her home;

The ancient gods, the ancient glory,

Still dwelt within thy shores of foam.

Here, as a fount may keep its virtue

While all the rivers turbid run,

The manly growth of deed and daring

Was thine beneath a scantier sun.

Set far apart, neglected, exiled,

Thy children wrote their runes of pride,

With power that brings, in this thy triumph,

The conquering nations to thy side.

What though thy native harps be silent,

The chord they struck shall ours prolong:

We claim thee kindred, call thee mother,

O land of saga, steel, and song!